A SPIRIT YOU CANNOT TOUCH

Nigeria bears the stigma of being a foreign Creation. This might not be clear to many Nigerians today. But one day, way into the future when a critical mass of a more mature and self-aware crop of Africans have arisen in that space today called Nigeria, then the contradiction and the insult embedded in the concept of „founding fathers“ will become clear to them. Especially when they ask: so who exactly was the first, the original Founding Father? Lord Lugard?

He created One-Nigeria, as a concept and a constitutional unit, and pieced and put it together. But what other creative forces lurk behind the pieces of what he put together?

Now, ever since 1914 Africans have tried to usurp Lugard‘s creation, to give life to it according to their understanding of what they feel should be the best way that this creation can work for them – each according to his own idea – and to steer the ship of its destiny. In doing so, however, they often disregard – as though it were unimportant – the very REASON why Nigeria was put together. The assumption of some that this reason is now obsolete or only of historical importance is however very fatal, because it prevents them from understanding why Nigeria still functions today the way she functions and will continue to function – driven by her internal foundational dynamics and aided by her European creators and other foreign friends – unless this raison d‘etre, which translated into her very modus operandi – is substituted or outgrown.

In Frederick Lugard‘s famous words:

„What we often call the Northern Protectorate of Nigeria today can be better described as the poor husband whilst it’s southern counterpart can be fairly described as the rich wife or the woman of substance and means. A forced union of marriage between the two will undoubtedly result in peace, prosperity and marital bliss for both husband and wife for many years to come. It is my prayer that that union will last forever”.

This well-known colourful quote, however, although it theatrically spells out the economic raison d‘etre of Nigeria (North, keep your wealth; Southern wealth will be used to finance both them and you), it distracts from another – even more vital – piece of information, and that is: the WAY and MANNER in which this coup was to be maintained. Namely, not the southern system of administration was extended north, but – more tellingly – the northern system was extended south. Much to the chagrin of Southern intellectuals, who did all they could to resist it – in vain. It was thus the British who subjugated the South to the North.

The very philosophy and ideology of Nigerian government, from the start, was based on that which the British Colonial authority had devised in harmony with the Northern traditional structure. Basically: in the North, unlike in the South, the British Colonial Power never took away actual sovereignty from the Northern rulership structure. It allowed them to keep it and then ruled the area indirectly through them, allowing them to act as willing agents to the extent that they the Northerners allowed. This is what we learn in school as having been „indirect rule“ in the North. This is why the Northern Protectorate always had a fiscal deficit and was always broke – because the Northern Emirs resisted the British imposed taxes. It is important to understand this: It was not the NORTH itself that was poor; the North was never poor, even though – yes – greater mineral wealth lies South, it seems. But it was the British-created BRITISH PROTECTORATE OF NORTHERN NIGERIA (i.e. the administrative entity) that was poor, because the subjects (Northern traditional rulers and their merchants) refused to fund it, but rather kept their wealth and taxes to themselves. Thus the needed money for running the Protectorate had to come from somewhere else: namely, from the South.

Now we come to the South. Here, in the South – unlike in the North – the indigenous primordial sovereignty of Southern Rulership was broken as a power base and replaced with direct British rule. Thus, here the Colonial Government had direct access, backed by direct force, to the mineral and labour wealth of the South. Thereafter they handpicked mostly malleable agents as their servants in the execution of this direct rule in and direct plunder of the South; a portion of the spoils was used to run the South, a large part of the loot was sent North, and the rest they kept to themselves and Britain. In other words, whereas they had adjusted to accommodate unmalleable Northern Leaders further inland in the North, they crushed the easily accessible Southern Leaders in the South and largely replaced them with malleable stooges. This caused great unrest and created a permanent internal instability in the South that has remained to this day, whereas it was the opposite in the North: Under the frail cloak of pseudo British colonialism, the primordial indigenous sovereignty of the North not only stayed intact, but retained the self-established form that had over a long time concretised mainly under Fulani dominion in those approximate areas.

When decades later in the aftermath of WW2 the independence struggle grew exponentially and it became clear to the Colonising power that some form of visible withdrawal from the driving seat had become inevitable, the question now was: Within which power dynamic should Nigeria, their creation whose modus operandi they understood best, be situated and then left behind. – In the hands of the unstable, wealthier, South into the Heart of whose authority-structures the departing British would have no reliable link or hold? Or in the hands of the stable reliable North with whom they had built up a working relationship perfected around an understanding and a system of joint subjugation and plunder of the South? It was an easy choice to make. Thus one can say: the British conquered the South on behalf of the North, in order to leave the South in the hands of the North and then share the South with the North. It seems the southern woman of means was never meant to be honourably married at all, but simply to be a free-for-all double-penetrated Geisha.

The lack of unity in, and naïvety of, the South after independence played even further into the hands of the North. The squabblings, the distrust, the well-meant coup, the naive constitutional change. Like inadvertently pushing a tiny splinter of wood deeper into the sole of your foot the more you try to remove it.

The question however might then be: WHY did the British find it hard to conquer the North, but easier in the South? Was it just because of the distance inland from the Atlantic Coast? Partly. But there was another, and more fundamental reason, and it‘s this: The North had ALREADY been conquered and was under a uniform authority. Islam had already conquered the North and held it together via its agent of conquest, primarily the Fulani of the Sokoto Caliphate to the North-East, and partly also the north-westerly Bornu Caliphate. It was at its core thus an Islamic resistance of Christianity that took place in Northern Nigeria, in continuation of the thousand year old battle for global supremacy between these two foreign religions. The North had a long memory of Islamic martial wisdom to draw from in their intelligent cohesive strategy behind their resistance to and manipulation of the British.

What this also means, is, the Independence that was achieved decades later in 1960 was simply the attainment of a partial independence from the Christian West, but a remaining subject to the Islamic East. Indeed: Independence from the Islamic East is yet to come to Africa generally.

But, back to Southern Nigeria. One common Religion – this overarching glue – was missing in the South, whose additional proximity to the Coast as well as possession of stupendous mineral wealth, made its conquest by the British almost inevitable. Indeed and ironically it was now British Colonialism that gave to the South, via Christianity and wide-spread western education, a semblance of the bond which the North – in the form of Islam and Arab-Islamic schooling – already long had. The difference being that in the North this religion-based bond was and is also entrenched in a traditional system of government which survived western colonialism. The South has only the religion, but not the uniformity of traditional authority. Nevertheless, this shared Christianity – especially in the South-East/South-South – even without political authority, still provides a sufficient bulwark of resistance against the imperious Islamisation attempt of the Fulani in this last region of true resistance in Nigeria. This is the Spirit of Biafra. Fuelled by primordial indigenous indignation. Again what we are seeing here – parallel to the meaningless ethnic scuffle and jostle for power – is the over-arching continuation of the millennium-old battle for global supremacy between Judeo-Christianity on one hand and Islam on the other. Situated within the theater of unfortunate and meaningless African inter-tribal conflicts. The Fulanis are experiencing in Biafra Land the same stubborn resistance that the British experienced in Arewa Land over a hundred years ago. Africans never really surrender. They survive and thrive. Islam is experiencing in Biafra Land the same resistance that Christianity experienced during the crusades against the Moslems. A refusal to be conquered and converted by cunning or by force. The Crusades are reversed in Nigeria today.

Nigeria bears the stigma of being a foreign creation – in so many ways. Much more complex than the few contexts touched upon in this write-up can throw up. The socio-political salvation for the Africans in this region of the continent lies in two things that might seem contradictory, but which are only two complimentary sides of the same golden coin. One: to re-identity with their own original African indigenous ethnic nationalities and consciousness, free from all the brain-wash of foreign religions and an acquired Nigerian identity. Two (and even more importantly): to NOT let these actual African ethnic identities participate in Tribalism against each other. That is: Be your true self and then unite with each other as your true selves. Say yes to Africa. Yes to Intertribal Love. No to tribal hatred and Tribalism.

Tribalism is the death of Africa. Not the Tribalism of love of one‘s ethnic group, but the Tribalism of hating, or feeling superior to, or not wanting the progress of other ethnic groups. It‘s just the greatest Smallness on earth today. If Africans – educated and non-educated – can really conquer Tribalism in their hearts, no foreign-come religions or colonially manufactured identities would be powerful enough to divide them and make them fight against each other. The day Panafricanism is based on pan-tribal-unity, and not on shifty talks in the amorphous halls of the AU, from that day Africa will start to progress.

The day the internal workings of Nigeria become based on inter-ethnic love and Cooperation – free of attempts at ethnic or religious conquest – and based on Inter-tribal Cooperation, accommodation, respect, love and unity, that is the day Nigeria will start to progress. Until then, BIAFRA will continue to live – more than a call for a state, more than a resistance movement; above all, an undying dream of freedom, indigenous development and sovereign identity. Biafra is the code word for Survival. Indigenous Survival. Black Survival. And it is anchored deep in the hearts of millions and millions of Africans. Survival.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
www.facebook.com/686560623/posts/10162562156620624

BIAFRA IS A STATE OF BEING

Biafra is a state of being.

Until we have achieved that state of being, the desired geopolitical region remains at risk. So we must pursue both tasks together.

And the State of Being is as follows:

We have to do as the Catalonians do in Spain.
When they realized that the Castelianos (Madrid) will never voluntarily or easily give them Independencia, the Catalonians (Barcelona) decided to turn inwards and develop their region Technologically, Economically and Infrastructurally – and now they are the economic powerhouse of Spain.

The same thing is with Bayern in Germany. When Germany was declaring itself as a nation, Bayern (Bavaria) had the choice to stay out and be a country on its own (like Austria did) . Instead it opted to stay within a greater Germany and become it’s best part. Today Bavaria is the most technologically and economically powerful region in Germany – and it has the whole of Germany now as its primary and biggest market.

The same thing is with California in the USA.
It’s not only the biggest economy WITHIN the US, it’s also the 6th largest economy in the World! However, this is only because it is within the US and can leverage on all the synergies that come with that, that it can be so powerful. If it were suddenly to try to break away overnight to stand alone, as a competitor against the rest of the US, things would not be so easy.

Nigeria does not fear IPOB as it is. In fact, they WANT IPOB to challenge them, so they can militarily wage war on the Igbos. IPOB at present is not the Biafra that Nigeria fears. They fear the Biafra that becomes like Catalonia, like Bavaria, like California. That’s the Biafra they fear. So they NEED this militant IPOB to give them an excuse to come and reduce Ala-Igbo to a wasteland again and turn back the hands of our clock once more to Zero, like they did in the last Civil War. Even if we don’t want and don’t start any hostilities, they will use the slightest excuse or provocation or accident to send in their troops. Britain will support them and in the end USA will establish a military base in Igbo Land, to keep the peace. And that is how we will become occupied territory.

We have to be smart, and shift the battle to the field where we can win.

What I am saying is this: yes we will continue to ask for Referendum, like Catalonia does in Spain, like Scotland does in Great Britain.
But it is not Referendum that will give us the Biafra we need. And of course It is not guns that will give us Biafra, that we know. As Igbos, we have to conquer our chronic INDIVIDUALISM – and we have to pool our wealth, intelligence and efforts together to turn Ala-Igbo into a First World region, right here and now. But this is the most difficult thing for us because we are individualists! It is easier to protest.

The second point is: Our Governors. As much as we don’t like them, we have to work on them and with them.

If IPOB mobilises the people against the Governors, the same way it is mobilising them against the Federal Govt, you will see how fast things will change. What will the governors do? Start shooting their own people? If any governor does that, where will that governor run to hide from the people’s revenge? They have nowhere to hide. Your State is your home – so they MUST listen to the people. If the people are united, (and IPOB can unite the people because IPOB is very powerful), they MUST start DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY from EVERY elected official in the South East.

Demand that they invest in INFRASTRUCTURES. Roads and transportation. Potable water. Drainage systems. Housing. Health. Education. Tax breaks for small businesses. Regional economic integration. Constitute expert groups accross every field from within and the diaspora to develop and advice on the framework for regional development.

Instead of going to Abuja, the Governors should come together, put money together from their budget and start building a second Niger Bridge. Start dredging the River Niger at Onitsha. Start developing the dry port at Abia. Start NOW and make it mandatory that EVERY South East governor prioritize regional integration. Taxes and tarrifs for business MUST come down to encourage investors.

Computer Village in Lagos is full of Igbos.
The governors and leadership should put their moneys together and build TECHNOLOGY TOWN in Aba. Follow up on the likes of the Geometrics power project in Aba, with a view to completely electrifying Ala-Igbo. And many more of such things.

Put their money together and elevate Enugu Airport to a level HIGHER than Lagos or Abuja airport. Things like that. Developing the Owerri Airport to a full international cargo airport and take advantage of the central location of Owerri in the South East.

Quality educational institutions are lacking in the East even though we constantly produce the highest number of applicants to universities. Let us build more by collaboration with our foreign diaspora. They’re the best in many parts of the world. Lets harness this advantage.

We need a world class Stock Exchange in Ala-Igbo. We can achieve that without the Federal government, because we own trading. Encourage our diaspora to work with government to establish and run QUALITY WORLD CLASS HEALTH CARE institutions in Ala-Igbo.

IPOB has already come up with a blueprint for an Igbo-wide democratic customary government, the people’s government, very republican in nature, and this is good. THIS IS POWER. Ironically, it might even be in accordance with the Nigerian constitution. If peacefully achieved, this can be the leverage with which to control the elected executive and legislative levels, if Nigeria stays together. And if Nigeria falls apart, then automatically we already have a framework state in operation.

However, IPOB must win Igbo people over by championing their welfare with their own governors and officials. Threaten them with no re-election and criminal prosecution if they fail to serve their people. They must also encourage the training, standardization, integration and sharing of information by the different state security groups to stamp out crimes like robbery, kidnapping, human trafficking, etc. We are Igbo. We are in the communities and we know those who are into crime. People MUST start explaining their sources of wealth. IPOB can utilize its huge following to ensure crime is wiped out and good governance is entrenched in the South East.

Then IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu would forever be remembered kindly by history.

If we are doing things like all these, Arewa will not need to issue quit notice – NDIGBO will come back in droves to build up Ala-Igbo.

Is it beyond the Igbo to venture into modern and very lucrative cattle rearing and be the leaders in all of Africa? Are we not known to come late into any venture and excel beyond those in it for centuries?

The governors in Ala-Igbo should AS A MATTER OF URGENCY introduce RANCHING across Ala-Igbo for prospective and enterprising IGBO CATTLE FARMERS, after which they will enact, implement and execute ANTI OPEN-GRAZING LAWS in their States, then call on all indigenes and States security groups to participate in monitoring its implementation. This will empower all Igbos and we will rid ourselves of these gun-totting Fulani Herdsmen in no time.

*This is priority. Every passing day is too much.*

Ekiti State did it. Benue State has done it. It’s not impossible. Why cannot the States of the South-East ALL do it as ONE? *Anti Grazing Law.* This will shake the Nigerian Govt more than asking for referendum.

IPOB has power. If they use it wisely they can bring about tremendous change in Ala-Igbo without a single blood shed. They are uniquely positioned at this period in time to use their massive following and break the individualistic Igbo trait to bring about change that will positively shape Igbo history for generations. If they misuse it by going the route of war, that didnt work decades ago, then it would be a great loss indeed.

If Nigeria stays together, Ala-Igbo can become the most advanced region of Nigeria if we START NOW. If Nigeria breaks up, we have to be ready to survive on our own. And at this moment, we are not yet ready. This is where we need to put our eyes into. Because the ball is already rolling.

What we want is for people to come and start investing in Ala-Igbo, from all over the world. They will do this massively if they see the political will and infrastructures being laid down in Ala-Igbo. If that happens, everybody will protect Igbo land. Biafra will grow from within. Let Nnamdi Kanu, all Igbo leaders and thinkers read this and run with it.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije (Ogbuehi)
August 2017.

TREACHERY

Was I not perhaps there with them, beneath the bombs and amidst the bullets and amongst the kids that died too easily, too early, and never rose again? Was I not perhaps there with them amidst the hoping and the despairing and the neighbours that turned too easily, too quickly, too happily, into foes – was I not really there? Aye, was I not perhaps there too, I wonder, was I not? I sometimes seem to see again the metalbirds dropping parcels of eager death and ripping the way open for birth, the painful birth of a new generation unafraid of guns, bombs and nuclear threats, and wary only of the little lies that neighbours and friends are ever wont to tell.

——————–

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

——————–

SURVIVAL

How many will survive when the drones
Say Hello
When a young lady, barely out of
School, is fingering somewhere a hidden button
And a closed-minded kid, for whom
The world is a distant myth
Sits for ours masturbating a joystick?
Their message is a drone
Their package death faster than the
Speed of sound –
How many will survive when the mad
Men on the other side also get their hands
On the deadly secrets of death?
How many will survive to teach tomorrow?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

RETIREMENT

His pride is on sale
And his shame
And on his broad frame
You can see him bearing his fate
With a brave face on display

Seventy years of age
All his fears have come of age
His hopes, dreams, plans, crumbled
But now he’s picked himself up again
And sits at the south train station

Easel, paint-brushes, stool, low table
But he holds his head up high
Give him a smile and a coin
And he’ll paint a portrait of you
That will stand the test of time

He: You speak good german
I: Can I write something about you?
He: Yes, but no names please. I
Have a granddaughter in Darmstadt, who
Doesn’t know what I do to survive.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

SURVIVAL

What don’t I know
About you is what
I silently ask myself
Each time you ask me
What I’m thinking
As I think about you

How many wars
Have you fought, won and lost?
How many lives have
You taken, how many given?
How much hunger did you endure
To nourish so much anger?

How many loves have pierced you?
How many wounds are
Dripping a trail back to
How many acts of survival?
All I see is the smile in your eyes
And the hope in your heart.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

P.O.V.ERTY

Sand for breakfast
Tasted no better than shit
I don’t beg for alms anymore
I just snatch it

My mother’s tears
Son I did not bring you up to be a thief
Mom you didn’t raise me to suffer in poverty, did you?
I just want some relief.

Sometimes they look out of their cars
Our eyes meet
I wonder if they ever wonder
If I know the taste of meat.

If I were in their shoes
Would I mean nothing to me
If driving by I saw me chained by poverty
In a system that benefits only me.

– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.